It might be hard to believe, but rainbow-puking clouds are now among the hottest predictors of the future. That’s right: Get on Snapchat, point your camera at your surroundings, and select a World Lens (yes, vomiting clouds are a good option). You’ll get a glimpse into Snap Inc.’s goal of becoming a dominating force in defining the augmented reality trends of the future.
If early signs are any indication, Snap picked the right mission. Experts predict that augmented reality (AR) will explode into a $90 billion market by 2020. You can already use AR to envision how furniture will look in your home or summon cute penguins to guide you to a Tokyo aquarium. If that’s awesome already, what will people dream up next? That’s anyone guess, of course, but here are a few smart bets:
1. Augmented-reality shopping
E-commerce has been wildly successful, in part because it makes it incredibly easy to get your hands on almost anything you want. But there’s a huge drawback: Photos and videos on sales pages often don’t give you quite enough information about what products look like in the flesh.
AR has something to say about that. Just like how we can use AR to see how furniture will look in our homes, we’ll eventually use it to get detailed looks at other products — clothes, appliances, makeup and more. Among a bevy of other plusses, the result may be less buyer uncertainty and more carts that make it to completion. Here’s an AR shopping demo from Magic Leap, currently one of the hottest AR startups.
2. Smart glasses
We don’t just have to dream about what these wearables can do — we’re currently looking at the seeds of a beautiful AR (and VR) future. Microsoft, for example, is letting developers and businesses play with the “mixed-reality” HoloLens, which lets you watch TV wherever you want, game with a blend of the virtual and real worlds, and summon 3D graphics right in front of you. Many other companies are developing smart glasses, and four eyes could eventually become the new normal.
3. Augmented-reality marketing
You know what VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk says? Marketers ruin everything. That’s a succinct way of saying we marketers oversaturate popular trends by hopping on bandwagons en masse. If AR becomes widespread, you can bet your bottom dollar that ubiquitous advertising will follow. The following video depicts just how intrusive and overwhelming AR could be in the future.
Though the prospect of AR spam is frightening, we can speculate about AR marketing that could be useful. You use Yelp to find nearby restaurants, why not use AR to place virtual markers on recommended eateries around you? While you’re looking at a restaurant debating whether to go in, AR can instantly bring up a menu and any specials the restaurant’s offering. Essentially, AR can easily bring you information you want, right when you need it — and be can be muted when you don’t need it.
4. Augmented reality for business
Okay, it’s almost cheating to include a prediction this all-encompassing, but it’s obvious that AR could make many industries more efficient and profitable. Here are a few potential applications:
- Visualize construction projects in 3D and foresee costly issues that might slow progress.
- Show business owners how signs, vending machines, and other equipment will look in their stores (according to CBS Money Watch, Coca-Cola reps with AR technology sold more and sold it quicker).
- Get your remote workers in a room for a meeting with holoportatation.
Pretty cool, right? AR business tools may become widespread before we can even blink. And in time, AR could very well become an indispensable part of our everyday lives.
Check out our other blog posts about why Spectacles will succeed where Google Glass failed, how brands are marketing with Spectacles, and why “VR-commerce” might eventually be a thing.
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